Friday, December 28, 2012

BBC News: "Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition"

The piece of news made it to the headlines of the BBC website: Mario Monti, althought not as a candidate, is willing to lead a centrist coalition after the next election.
Here the link to the BBC page with all the details, including links to Monti's and Berlusconi's profiles:


Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti (28 Dec 2012) 
 Mario Monti could return as prime minister if a centrist coalition were successful at the polls
Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti is to lead a coalition of centre parties going into a parliamentary election in February.
Speaking to reporters after four hours of talks with centrist politicians, he said he was willing to be "named leader of the coalition".
He resigned after 13 months as prime minister when predecessor Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support.
The Vatican newspaper backs Mr Monti's bid to return as prime minister.
The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says that Mr Monti clearly threw his hat into the political ring at a news conference on Friday evening.
"A new political formation has been born," Mr Monti said.
A single reform list, grouping together centrist parties, would stand for election to the Senate under the provisional title "Monti's agenda for Italy", he said.
But in the lower house, the chamber of deputies, there would be a coalition of centrist parties, including the Christian Democrat UDC.
As senator for life, Mr Monti cannot stand for election, but he is able to take part in the campaign and could return to the post of prime minister if a centrist coalition were successful.
He was brought in to form a technocratic government last year after the government of Silvio Berlusconi collapsed under pressure from the financial markets.
Mr Monti, a former economics professor and European Union Commissioner, was chosen to impose financial rigour on the economy.

Economic austerity
In power, he made some progress early on, including raising the retirement age and structural reforms.
But later policies were watered down and Mr Berlusconi and his centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party increasingly attacked Mr Monti's economic austerity.
Mr Monti has described his 13 months in office as "difficult but fascinating".
"The work we did... has made the country more trustworthy... more competitive and attractive to foreign investors," he said.
However ordinary Italians have been hard hit by the combination of tax rises and spending cuts Mr Monti has imposed to repair Italy's public finances and it is uncertain how well he will fare in the election on 24-25 February.
The left-wing Democratic Party is currently leading the opinion polls, while Silvio Berlusconi will lead the challenge from the right as head of his PDL party.
Mr Monti was optimistic that the electorate will stick with him. He told an impromptu news conference that he expected his supporters could win a "significant result" in the election.
"The traditional split between left and right has historic and symbolic value," he said, "but does not highlight the real alliance that Italy needs - one that focuses on Europe, and on reforms".